Facing increased competition in the tablet space, Apple’s still-dominant iPad has been expected to receive a refresh next month.

Today, Apple made it official by announcing an iPad-related event for March 7.

According to The Loop’s Jim Dalrymple, the event will take place at 10:00 am next Wednesday in San Francisco. While Apple’s invitations are typically mum on specifics, the release of the third version of the iPad appears all but imminent, so there is little doubt that this event will be used to debut it to the world.

So what’s in store for consumers with the iPad 3?

An improved processor and graphics chip are expected, as is the introduction of a Retina Display. A 9to5Mac source has leaked part numbers indicating that there will be three variants of the iPad 3, one of which has WiFi and the other two of which have cellular network capability.

Based on the information out there, this looks like a fairly mundane refresh, although Apple probably doesn’t need to overhaul the iPad to sell millions of units in rapid fashion. That said, Apple (and its late founder Steve Jobs) had historically surprised us with “one more thing.” With that in mind, nobody should be surprised if the iPad 3 event delivers that “one more thing.”

In fact, it might be a mistake if Apple doesn’t add something interesting into the mix with the iPad 3. Although the iPad is still by far the most dominant tablet in the market, the success of the Kindle Fire and NOOK Tablet should be on the company’s radar. After all, Amazon and Barnes & Noble are, in many instances, avoiding competing directly with the iPad, a strategy that gives them far more leeway and runway in plotting against Apple than those companies, like RIM, which mistakenly thought they could go toe-to-toe with the world’s richest technology company.